LONDON - British-based restaurateur and cookbook author Prue Leith is the new face of popular reality television culinary series The Great British Bake Off.
After much speculation, BBC reported that cooking guru Leith, 77, will replace long-time judge Mary Berry on the new season of the show which pits amateur bakers against each other.
"I cannot wait to see what the real stars of the show - the bakers - are going to create for us," Leith told the BBC. The refreshed line-up includes television personality Sandi Toksvig and comedian Noel Fielding.
The cast shake-up comes after British broadcaster BBC lost the rights to air Bake Off last year to rival Channel 4, prompting former hosts Berry, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins to leave. Celebrity baker Paul Hollywood is the only member of the original team to remain on the show.
South Africa-born Leith has large shoes to fill as the grandmotherly Berry, 81, has a loyal following amassed from seven seasons of the baking programme.
The newly-minted host Leith is no stranger to television. She was a judge on Channel 4's cooking contest show My Kitchen Rules UK and BBC's chef cook-off Great British Menu.